One of the primary keys to male health is to increase testosterone naturally and keep it as high as possible throughout the duration of one's life.
It becomes increasingly important to increase testosterone naturally as we age due to the fact that after the age 30 testosterone levels begin to decrease at about a rate of 1% a year until they plateau during a male's senior years.
Testosterone is essential to male health and "manhood" due to its large role in male sexuality and reproduction, building and maintaining muscle mass, hair growth, cardiovascular health and more.
Testosterone is also what gives men a sense of strength, well-being and vitality.
Whether you are a serious lifter or just a guy that wants to maximize his health, use these six tips to help support your body's own production of this magic hormone.
However, low testosterone and hypogonadism can be caused by multiple issues, so it is always best to have your doctor test your blood regularly.
6 Ways to Increase Testosterone Naturally
#1: Lose Weight
Fat is a testosterone killer and losing weight is one of the quickest and easiest ways to increase testosterone naturally. According to research presented at the Endocrine Society's 2012 meeting, losing weight and lowering body fat is directly linked to testosterone production.
#2: HIIT Workouts and Fasting
Science has shown that both regular fasting and high intensity exercise signal the body's flight or fight response and trigger the production of testosterone as a survival method for recovery and healing.
Short intense exercise has a proven positive effect on increasing testosterone levels and preventing its decline.
If your goal is to increase testosterone naturally, it may be a good idea to avoid long distance cardio over 20 minutes in duration, which has been shown to increase cortisol levels in the blood.
This cortisol effect has been shown to block the production of testosterone, which may be associated with the chronic stress of long distance sports.
Fasting on the other hand has been shown to increase testosterone naturally by increasing the sensitivity of insulin, leptin, adiponectin, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), colecystokinin (CKK), human growth hormone (HGH) and melanocortins.
All of these are important to the production of testosterone and preventing overtraining, a healthy libido. and slowing the aging process.
If you are interested in learning more about HIIT or Fasting, check out the following resources:
#3: Consume Plenty of Zinc and Foods That Support the Endocrine System
Zinc is essential in the creation of testosterone production. If your body is deficient in this essential mineral then your body's ability to produce testosterone will be greatly limited.
Supplementing your diet with zince has been shown to naturally increase testosterone in men with low levels.*
Additionally, there are many superfoods and herbs like Ashwaghanda, Ginseng, Pine Pollen, Cordycep Mushrooms, and Tribulus Terrestris have all been shown to either supply your body with key nutrients or stimulate other pathways in the body responsible for testosterone production*
#4: Strength Training
In addition to absolutely essential for optimal fitness and health, strength training is one of the best ways to increase testosterone naturally.
That is of course, if you are lifting heavy enough to trigger the adaptive responses required to signal testosterone production.
How do you do that, you ask?
Always maximize intensity. This can be done in two ways: 1) using heavy compound movements that stimulate a large portion of the nervous system (e.g., squats, presses, etc.), and 2) increasing the time under tension (e.g., super-slow weight training).
Highly intense protocols like Super Slow training stimulate large amounts of muscle fibers and make the body think it is under attack. This triggers the brain to release signals to increase testosterone to help the body repair quickly for survival.
#5: Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels and Reduce Stress
Another easy way guys can increase testosterone naturally is to increase Vitamine D intake and/or production.
Vitamin D can be increased naturally through sun exposure or by supplementing with vitamin D orally. The body is one giant solar panel and is designed to absorb the sun's energy, so that is usually the best way. However, do so safely.
If you choose to supplement orally vitamin D3, research suggests the average adult needs to take 8,000 IU's of vitamin D per day in order to elevate their levels above 40 ng/ml, which is the absolute minimum for disease prevention.
Always discuss high doses like this with your doctor beforehand to ensure it is appropriate for you.
#6: Reduce Stress
Chronic stress causes your body to release high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone actually blocks the effects of testosterone. Biologists believe this is a different type of survival mechanism.
In this case, cortisol tells your brain that you are under extreme stress and likely suppresses the sexual impulses and reproductive parts of the brain in order to focus on the current threat being sensed.
Modern life is full of chronic stressors that can significantly hamper your ability to increase testosterone naturally. Some suggestions for reducing stress include: getting more sleep, reducing your obligations, reducing how much mainstream news you watch, cleaning up your finances, etc.
Conclusion: The methods described above only begin to scratch the surface, but are an easy ways to increase testosterone naturally. Do them regularly and you'll likely be hitting new PRs in the gym and feeling an invincible as you did when you were 18 in no time.
- Step Case Life Hack July 6, 2012
- The Natural Testosterone Plan. Stephen Buhner
- Arch Androl. 1981 Aug;7(1):69-73
- Nutrition. 1996 May;12(5):344-8
- National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements, Zinc
- Study presented at The Endocrine Society’s 91st Annual Meeting, June 13, 2009, Washington, D.C.
- J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Apr;24(4):1125-30